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What are the requirements relating to advertising positions?
No specific laws limit or restrict employers from advertising positions. However, employers which wish to employ expatriates usually advertise positions for the employment of foreign nationals only if no Nigerian nationals are qualified for such positions.
What can employers do with regard to background checks and inquiries in relation to the following:
(a) Criminal records?
Employers can engage a service provider to conduct background checks on potential employees. Employers may also apply to the Nigerian police force to ascertain whether an employee has a criminal record or apply to the competent court for a judgment in respect of a decided criminal matter. However, employers cannot access criminal records if such records will result in the identification of a juvenile offender, as these records are confidential and closed to third parties.
(b) Medical history?
An employer may, with the employee’s consent, conduct medical tests on the employee. However, employers are prohibited from conducting HIV/AIDS tests on employees, and may only do so if they have obtained the employees’ specific prior written consent.
(c) Drug screening?
Employers can conduct such tests with employees’ consent.
(d) Credit checks?
Employers may, with employees’ consent, conduct credit checks. In practice, such tests are conducted by the employer submitting an application to any of the credit bureau companies in Nigeria.
(e) Immigration status?
Any employer that intends to employ a foreign national must obtain an expatriate quota approval from the Federal Ministry of the Interior. This approval permits a company to employ non-Nigerians for specifically approved job designations for a specified duration, usually two years in the first instance. In relation to nationals of ECOWAS member states who are entitled to reside and work in Nigeria, an employer can require the employee to provide his or her ECOWAS card or international ECOWAS passport. The employer will require either document to apply for an ECOWAS residence card, which enables the employees to live and work in Nigeria.
(f) Social media?
An employer can access information on its employees’ social media platforms if the information is already in the public domain.
Employers can also access information held by a public institution (ie, a legislative, executive, judicial, administrative or advisory body of the government). This access is permitted under the Freedom of information Act 2011. In order to access such information, the employer must submit an application to the institution. The employer need not demonstrate specific interest in the information in respect of which the application is made. However, this right is not absolute and the institution may deny access to the information where it contains personal information (defined in the act as any official information held about an identifiable person, not including information that bears on the public duties of public employees and officials).
Wages and working time
Is there a national minimum wage and, if so, what is it?
Yes. The minimum wage as prescribed by the National Minimum Wage (Amendment) Act 2011 is N18,000.
Are there restrictions on working hours?
The Labour Act provides that normal working hours in any undertaking will be fixed in one of the following ways:
- by mutual agreement;
- by collective bargaining within the organisation or industry concerned; or
- by an industrial wages board (established by or under an enactment providing for the establishment of such boards) where there is no machinery for collective bargaining.
In practice, the usual daily working hours are eight to nine hours, with a one-hour lunch break.
Hours and overtime
What are the requirements for meal and rest breaks?
The Labour Act provides that every employee who works for six hours or more a day is entitled to one hour off for meals. Where the work involves continuous strain or is particularly trying in other ways, in addition to the one-hour meal break the employee is also allowed short breaks during working hours.
How should overtime be calculated?
The Labour Act does not expressly order the payment of overtime. However, this obligation can be inferred from a combined reading of Sections 11(9), 13(7) and 19 of the act. In practice, in sectors that are predominantly unionised (eg, the manufacturing and oil and gas sectors) overtime payments are negotiated by the trade unions and employers usually pay overtime at the negotiated rates. Otherwise, overtime payments are as agreed between the parties to the employment contract.
What exemptions are there from overtime?
Any exemptions from overtime are as provided in the employment contract. In practice, senior executives are usually not entitled to overtime payments.
Is there a minimum paid holiday entitlement?
Yes, under the Labour Act an employee is entitled to at least six days of annual leave for every 12 months of employment. For non-workers, holiday time is as agreed in their contract of employment or in the employer’s staff manual.
What are the rules applicable to final pay and deductions from wages?
The Labour Act does not prescribe specific rules in this respect. However, it provides that the total amount of deductions from an employee’s salary in a single month cannot exceed one-third of the employee’s salary for the month. In practice, employers usually deduct any outstanding sums owed by the employee from the employee’s final salary.
What payroll and payment records must be maintained?
Under the Labour Act employers must maintain records that indicate the sums paid to employees. In addition, for taxation purposes, employers must maintain records that indicate the total sums paid to employees and the deductions made from salaries.
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